Mill D North Overview
Skiing Reynolds Peak
The Mill D North Trailhead is located about half way up Big Cottonwood Canyon in the "Reynolds Flat". This trailhead serves as a popular hiking, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing starting point to destinations such as Reynolds Peak, Little Water Peak, Desolation Lake, Dog Lake and Millcreek Canyon. Whether it is fall, winter, spring or summer, the Mill D North trail is one of the more beautiful trails that Big Cottonwood Canyon has to offer. During the summer and fall months it is a good idea to keep a sharp eye behind you during your decent. Mountain bikers going speeds in excess of 25mph frequently barrell down the trail, even on weekdays.
Troy looking out at the soon to be summited Reynolds Peak Reynolds in Fall
Troy and Ron skinning up to Little Water Peak
Reynolds Peak from the summit of Little Water Peak Troy skiing Mill D North
The Mill D North Trail
If one is starting at the Reynolds Flat there are several destinations in Mill D North worth climbing to. The trail starts out with some steps as well as some traversing. About 15 minutes in the trail will make a sharp bend and some cabins will come into view. This is Mill D North Fork. Continue following the trail up the fork and about a mile in the trail will merge with the Spruces Trail.
After about another mile there is a split in the trails. The trail that go's to the left heads up to Dog Lake, Reynolds Peak, and Little Water Peak. The trail that heads to the right go's to Desolation lake and the Park City Ridgeline. Which ever trail you choose to follow the climb and views are sure to please.
Troy at the division point that is encountered around the 2 mile mark
The trail that heads LEFT.....The trail that heads to the LEFT-(Dog lake, Reynolds Peak, Little Water Peak)
1. Dog Lake-
About half a mile or so up from the division is Dog Lake. From the lake you can go left(south) and head up to Reynolds Peak. If you head right(north) you'll hit the Mill Creek/Big Cottonwood ridgeline. If you head east on the ridge you will, after a mile or so, hit Little Water Peak.
Dog Lake in the summer Dog Lake in the winter
2. Reynolds Peak-
Reynolds Peak is one of the more senic peaks in Big Cottonwood because of it's centralized location in the Wasatch. In the summer the trail can be somewhat bushy and miss leading. From Dog Lake head south and you should hit a huge open meadow. From the meadow head west along a well defined trail. Keep an eye out to your left and just before a smaller meadow the north ridge trail will faintly appear. Hit the North rigde and continue south untill your at the summit.
3. Little Water Peak-
Easier to find in the winter, this not so popular peak can offer some solitude when the destination shots are crowded. From Dog Lake you should make a sharp right (north) and continue uphill until you reach the Millcreek Canyon/Big Cottonwood Canyon ridgeline. From here make another right (east) and keep heading up until you reach the summit.
Troy standing on the summit of Little Water Peak Troy skiing some deep powder on Little Water Peak Some climbers standing on the edge of the Wasatch? Nope....just Little Water Peak Troy after just skiing the steep avalanche prone Northeast Bowl of Little Water Peak
The Trail that heads RIGHTThe Trail that heads RIGHT.(Desolation Lake, The Great Western Trail)
This beautiful mountain lake is bigger and involves more hiking than Dog Lake. None the less a visit here in winter, fall, spring and/or summer is sure to please. The upper mountain setting, combined with a beautiful single track trail make this hike more than plesant for the average hiker.
Desolation Lake in early winter Desolation Lake in fall. Photo Credit mountaingazelle
The Park City Ridgeline-
If you choose to continue past Desolation Lake you will eventually reach the Park City Ridgeline. Once the ridge is reached the trail merges with a section of The Great Western Trail. This section of the Great Western Trail that runs from Guardsmands Pass to Millcreek Canyon is known as The Wasatch Crest Trail. This trail can be quite crowded with runners and bikers in the summer, fall and spring months. With outstanding veiws of the Cottonwood Canyons and the Park City ridgeline, it is no suprize why this trail has become so popular these days.
The Great Western Trail The Great Western Trail
Some beautiful fall colors on the Wasatch Crest section of The Great Western Trail
Avalanches are a common threat in Mill D North Fork. The mid elevation release zones (between 9,000-10,000 feet) are known for horrible layering (depth hoar) in the winter months. Around spring time the avalanche condtions tend to settle out. Still Mill D North demands respect. Avalanches here (especially the desolation ridge) are known to be so large that they climb up the next hill! Whether you are snowshoer or a backcountry skier be sure to carry a beacon, probe, shovel, avalung, and common sense along with you during your winter travels.
Me checking out an avalanche crown on Reynolds Peak An avalanche in an area known to backcountry skiers as "Short Swing" A skier triggered avalanche just off of the Desolation Ridge A windslab on Reynolds Peak Another avalanche in Short Swing
Red Tape....Absolutly no dogs in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Dogs are allowed up Millcreek Canyon to Dog Lake, however they must be leashed every other day.
No machines of any sorts (including paragliders) are allowed in the Mount Olympus Wilderness area.
No flying allowed on Reynolds Peak....so keep those skis on Troy is the only dog allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon